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TCELS-The Thailand Research Fund-Ramathibodi Hospital partnership builds the innovative drug-gene testing service to determine drug allergy on an individual genetic. Partnership has scaled up the human genome implementation in population across Asian.
23 February 2018

Scientists at Center for Medical Genomics, Faculty of Medicine Ramathibodi Hospital, Mahidol University in partnership with Thailand Center of Excellence for Life Sciences (TCELS) and Ministry of Science and Technology have achieved whole genome sequencing from Thai individual eight years ago (in June, 2011). Pharmacogenomics and medical genomics network has been expanded to other countries in South East Asia since 2012. The annual meeting has been held to provide, update, and exchange the information of innovative service from each country. In 2016, The Thailand Research Fund and RIKEN Genome Center from Japan have provided research funds to Center for Medical Genomics for genome sequencing associated with drug uses. The research funds have covered the study of 100 drug-related genes and genome sequencing in 1,000 subjects from South East Asia.

On 23 February 2018, TCELS, TRF, and Center for Medical Genomics, Ramathibodi hospital, Mahidol University as partnership has announced the kick off project in genetic testing to identify genes associated with drug allergy for individualized therapy in Thai subjects. Additionally, this genetic testing has been performed among subjects in Asian region. Dr.Sirasak Tapakam, Deputy Director of TCELS for academic affair and innovation said TCELS in partnership with Ramathibodi Hospital have established Pharmacogenomics network in South East Asia namely South East Asian Pharmacogenomics Research Network or SEAPHARM since 2012. Partners have the annual meeting to share their valuable knowledge for research improvement and to strengthen pharmacogenomics and medical genomics in regional level. The host of annual meeting has been alternated between partners. In this year, the meeting has been scheduled during 22-23 February, 2018 to strengthen the research network. In addition, this year will be the special meeting which scientists from around Asian will attend. This meeting will incorporate all scientists to unite in genome sequencing project which is working on Thai population and 8 Asian countries and the previous study of 100 drug-related genes. The achievement of this genome sequencing project will be able to augment and support S-Curve industry of Thailand in medical and health industries.

Professor Dr.Wasun Chantratita, Director of Center for Medical Genomics, Ramathibodi hospital said this genome sequencing project has begun after the Center for Medical Genomics succeeded the first human genome project from Thai subject who lives in Thailand for 4 generations. We start to implement the genetic testing for drug allergy since June, 2011. After we succeeded, we expanded our research in genetic testing to the identification of 100 drug-related genes in population from Asian country members consisting of Thailand, Brunei, Myanmar, Philippines, Malaysia, Laos, Vietnam, Singapore and Indonesia. This project is supported by RIKEN research institute, Japan or RIKEN Center for Integrative Medical Sciences (IMS). Furthermore, the genome sequencing from DNA in Asian population will be accomplished in collaboration with Beijing Genomics Institute, China. We aim to develop drug-gene testing by using genome sequencing to solve the 3 significant problems in drug use before therapy. There are several conditions where drug gene testing before starting an individualized medication is to be applied. First, the medication for treatment in some patient can lead to life-threatening side effects. In other case, some patient does not respond to that drug of choice. And, the goal is to find the right drug and the suitable drug dose to the right patient to achieve the best benefit before therapy. This project has been worked along with other 6 of pharmacogenomics projects. “When this project has been succeeded, it will be the novel standard of drug choosing before medications in Thailand. We will share our success in drug-gene testing to other doctors in Asian countries. For the conventional way to choose medications, doctor has to try to find the right drug for each patient which sometimes gives the unsatisfactory outcomes. For example, use of the expensive drugs for a long time that is not able to cure or alleviate disease, the drug dose does not suitable in some patient, some drug can cause the serious side effects leading to fatal outcome or deformed organ that not just the rash from drug allergy. If we are able to change the way we choose drug to treat patients by an individualized therapy based on their genetic information, this could be the standard of care that give the safer outcome for future medication.” Professor Dr. Wasun said.

Associated Professor Dr. Pongsakorn Tantileepikorn, Assistant Director of TRF for international research network and international affairs said we support the International Research Network (IRN) in purpose to strengthen the ongoing research and to solve the important issue of Thailand that could lead to the potential development and research capability along with the national policy and strategy in research area of Thailand. In addition, there are the funds that support the ongoing researches, international research networks, doctoral research assistants and post-doctoral research fellowships for the research networks. This meeting of SEAPharm is the first activity of our partnership network which is likely to be able to step up in the potential to develop and support the S-curve industry of Thailand in medical and health industries. This network is able to advance the strength and durability in research capability, development of innovation service, product of pharmacogenetics and medical genomics as well. Moreover, this could push forward Thailand to be the leading role as Asian corridor of pharmacogenomics and genomic medicine and to level up Thailand in research capability in the field of pharmacogenomics to reach the top level of the region.